The emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus carries myriad implications for data collection, healthcare innovation, and science, among other fields. There are investment implications as well, including for genomics assets.
It could take some time, but the ARK Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector Fund (ARKG ) could be a beneficiary of genomics advancements stemming from the Omicron variant. While the actively managed ARKG, one of the juggernauts of the crop of innovative healthcare exchange traded funds, isn’t intimately levered to COVID-19 vaccine development, it’s still highly relevant against the backdrop of multiple variants of the virus.
One area where some ARKG components could eventually prove useful in the fight against COVID-19 and other pandemics is genomic surveillance.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists have been sequencing the genetic material from samples of the virus, a process that allows them to spot new mutations and identify specific variants. When done routinely and on a large scale, sequencing also allows researchers and officials to keep tabs on how the virus is evolving and spreading,” reports Emily Anthes for the New York Times.
Like so many genomics concepts, surveillance is just getting started, indicating that there’s a potentially long and lucrative road for ARKG components that choose to pursue this avenue.
“In the United States, this kind of broad genomic surveillance got off to a very slow start. While Britain quickly harnessed its national health care system to launch an intensive sequencing program, early sequencing efforts in the United States, based primarily out of university laboratories, were more limited and ad hoc,” according to the Times.
As an actively managed ETF, ARKG can move swiftly to embrace new concepts in the genomics space, and that could prove beneficial as more members of the fund’s current roster dive into surveillance or as more companies already in that space go public. Currently, ARKG members primarily focus on the following pursuits: agricultural biology, bioinfomatics, CRISPR, molecular diagnostics, and targeted therapeutics.
Undeniably, those are attractive endeavors from a long-term investment perspective, but that box is also checked by genomics surveillance. With some experts speculating that COVID-19 won’t be the last pandemic the world deals with, surveillance will become more important with time, and there’s room for technological advancement.
“The problem is that the process takes time, especially when done in volume. The C.D.C.’s own sequencing process typically takes about 10 days to complete after it receives a specimen,” notes the Times.
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